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Is Elvis A Mormon? Maureen Dowd Is A Day Late And A Dollar Short.


KevinG

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http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/18/opinion/sunday/dowd-is-elvis-a-mormon.html?_r=1&ref=maureendowd

Is Elvis a Mormon?

Published: March 17, 2012

By MAUREEN DOWD

Trust Mitt Romney to be on top of the latest trend of the superrich: the trophy basement.

On Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported on the new fashion to look low-key on the outside while digging deep for opulence — carving out subterranean spaces for Turkish baths, Italianate spas, movie theaters, skateboarding ramps, squash courts, discos and golf-simulation centers.

The Journal reported that Romney has filed an application to replace his single-story 3,000-square-foot beach house in La Jolla, Calif., with a 7,400-square-foot home featuring an additional 3,600 square feet of finished underground space.

It’s a metaphor alert, reinforcing the two image problems Romney has: that he’s an out-of-touch plutocrat and that his true nature is buried where we can’t see it.

His two-year missionary stint in France taught Mitt to steel himself against rejection. Still, he must feel awful heading into Illinois (where Joseph Smith, the Mormon Church founder, was running for president when he was killed by a mob), spending so much money to buy so little affection.

There’s a certain pathos to Romney. His manner is so inauthentic, you can’t find him anywhere. Is he the guy he was on Wednesday or the guy he was on Thursday?

He has the same problem that diminished the equally animatronic Al Gore. Gore kept mum on the one thing that made him come alive, the environment, fearing he’d be cast, as W. liked to say, as “a green, green lima bean.”

Romney also feels he must hide an essential part of who he is: a pillar of the Mormon Church. He fears he would turn off voters by talking too much about a faith that many evangelicals dismiss as a cult and not a true Christian religion.

Rick Santorum is drawn to the extreme and ascetic Opus Dei and sometimes sounds more Catholic than the pope — like his promise on his Web site to banish hard-core porn if he’s elected president. Yet he has successfully crowded Romney with a fraction of his money by wearing his religion and his immigrant, blue-collar roots on his sleeve.

Mitt works overtime pretending he’s a Nascar, cheesy-grits guy and masking his pride in his bank account and faith.

When he talked about his beliefs in his last presidential run, it sometimes provoked confusion, like this explanation to an Iowa radio host about the second coming of Christ: that Jesus would first appear in Jerusalem and then, “over the thousand years that follow, the millennium, he will reign from two places, the law will come from Missouri, and the other will be from Jerusalem.”

Just as Romney did not step up immediately after Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke “a slut,” he has yet to step up as the cases have mounted of Jews posthumously and coercively baptized by Mormons, including hundreds of thousands of Holocaust victims; the parents of the death camp survivor and Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal; and Daniel Pearl, the Jewish Wall Street Journal reporter murdered by Al Qaeda in Pakistan. (His widow, Mariane, told CNN she was “shocked.”)

Believing that only Mormons can get into the highest level of heaven, the Celestial Kingdom, and that others will be limited to the Terrestrial and Telestial Kingdoms, they have baptized anyone and everyone, including Anne Frank, Gandhi, Hitler, Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin and Elvis.

Asked by Newsweek in 2007 if he had done baptisms for the dead, which involve white garb and immersion in water, a startled Romney replied, “I have in my life, but I haven’t recently.”

Mormon feminists got upset this winter when they found that young women in some temples had not been allowed to do proxy baptisms while they were menstruating.

Church leaders have lately stepped up efforts to stop such baptisms, reminding church members that their “pre-eminent obligation” is not to celebrities and Holocaust victims but to their own ancestors. (Ann Romney’s Welsh dad, who disdained organized religion, was baptized.)

Matthew Bowman, who wrote “The Mormon People,” says Mormons “have a hard time understanding why people from other religions find this so offensive. Mormons don’t think of these people as being made Mormon unless their spirit accepts the Gospel. They just think they’ve given them an opportunity. Mormonism is wildly optimistic.”

Mormons had designated Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and Holocaust survivor, as “ready” for a posthumous proxy burial, even though he is very much alive at 83 and still teaching at Boston University and in Florida.

Wiesel calls “the whole process very strange,” and faults Romney, a Mormon stake president: “After all, Romney is not simply a Mormon. He’s been a bishop of the Mormon Church. He could have called and told me he wanted me to know that he spoke to the elders and told them to stop it. Silence doesn’t help truth.”

He added: “They have baptized over 600,000 Holocaust victims. There is nothing positive in what they are doing. It’s an insult. You cannot ask the dead their opinion.

“Poor Anne Frank. As if she didn’t suffer enough.”

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My Non-LDS Fathers critique:

"Pathos is a communication technique used most often in rhetoric. It is an appeal to the audience's sympathies and imagination.

An appeal to pathos causes an audience not just to respond emotionally but to identify with the writer's point of view - to feel what

the writer feels. So, when used in tragedy, pathos evokes a meaning implicit in the verb 'to suffer or to endure' - to feel pain

imaginatively or vicariously." -- Wikipedia

There is a certain pathos to Maureen Dowd. She must have spent a long time agonizing over and carefully assembling what

she knows is merely the appearance of facts. Her manner is knowing and her intent is demonizing.

This is a liberal perspective. As you view it, though, remember that there are conservative columnists and television personalities

who are as skilled in appealing to pathos as Maureen Dowd.

Accept the vexation of reading something like this. But please recognize it for what it is and refrain from using it to project your

own perspectives about people and issues.

Dad/Grandpa

My response to my father and the others on his mailing list:

You have Maureen Dowd pegged Dad. She has taken a collection of sound bites from the last few months that make Mormons look insensitive and weird and stung them together in order to tar Mitt Romney. She did a very good job of constructing a plausible story - but her journalistic research is very poor.

If she had simply gone to the LDS.org newsroom she could have got "the rest of the story"…

Proxy Baptisms of Holocaust victims http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/jewish-names-entered-genealogical-database

http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/violations-of-proxy-baptism-policy

http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/first-presidency-issues-direction-members-names-ordinances

An explanation of proxy baptism http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/proxy-baptism-terryl-givens

Priesthood and Race http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/racial-remarks-in-washington-post-article

There is no press release about the David Axelrod tweet regarding women menstruating and the Temple. I can tell you from personal experience that a young woman who is menstruating and uncomfortable wearing a tampon may be encouraged to participate in ordinances other than proxy baptism if she is worried about being in the water in white clothing for an extended period of time. No one has ever been turned away from the temple for being on their period.

The sad part is I'm sure Maureen has access to the boring but more accurate details behind the sound bites. She has chosen to perpetuate the controversies despite there being ready answers to the questions posed.

As far as Mitts basement? That is good old fashioned class warfare. I know that all candidates will be dragged into the race, class, sex and political war if they choose to run for President. How many times have we heard that Obama is Kenyan or that he refused to refute Ares and Wright? It is a cheap trick to ask why someone didn't repudiate their second cousins, sister-in-laws, pastors divinity teacher who believed Muslims are evil. If candidates repudiated every questionable action by every person remotely associated with them it would be a full time job. Santorum's campaign manager was bemoaning the fact that Mitts religion seems to be off limits. Perhaps unlike Santorum it's because Mitt made a conscious choice not to make it a central part of his campaign. While Mormons are very strict about our own morals we tend to allow others to govern themselves as they see fit.

I don't chalk these types of stories and articles up to anti-Mormonism. In fact I don't think its personal at all. It is simply a fact that Mitt Romney's Mormonism is one of the most unusual things about him. Any controversy or bad decision made by a Mormon or Mormons in general in the last 150 years will be fair game for the pundits as they play the "repudiate your life" game. It is something we will have to deal with as a people in the coming months and years..

The LDS.org newsroom will be very busy between now and November; longer if Mitt wins the Presidency. Perhaps Obamas Fathers Kenyan Brother will be able to retire from the pages of the National Enquirer or other tabloids like the New York Times.

Another friends response (he is Catholic) to the kurfluttle:

What a difficult piece to read. I have often read Ms Dowd's column, and like most I read I agree sometimes and disagree sometimes. And I believe everyone has a bad day and should not be judged on a single event, but wow this was a real whopper of a bad one.

George referred to pathos, which is appropriate. A term for those who engage in excess pathos is "pathetic", which I found this to be .

Kevin is too kind in his assessment, and I think George's assessment of "her manner is knowing, her intent is demonizing" is quite accurate. This was nothing less than a direct attack on a man for his religious beliefs.

It's all the stranger because Ms Dowd's faith went through a similar "trial" when a presidential candidate from her faith Ran. John F Kennedy (JFK is ancient history to some of you) actually had to give a speech stating the obvious, he did not take orders from Rome. I should at some point disclose I'm also Roman Catholic like Ms Dowd & JFK, and say emphatically her views are not common amongst Catholics. I dare say JFK might spin a bit in his grave if he read her words.

A woman's (or if we are desperate, a Man's) faith has nothing to do with their ability to hold office. That we even tolerate such talk is ridiculous.

When I was a younger man I thought all anti-Semitism was banished, all religious hatreds gone from this land. Then I encountered it, but not in the face of some raging uneducated moron. Sadly it was among educated men and women who expounded ideas so vile as to defy understanding. I heard such ideas about every type of faith, some more than others. LDS is an easy target, I suspect because it is misunderstood.

I've tried my best to fight such ideas, but have found one can not fight anger with anger, but only with love. People can not hate that which they know, so I encourage people of all faiths to be good citizens, befriend those outside their circle, and slowly educate people that their fears are unfounded.

I actually had one individual tell me the Catholics had armories of guns in the basement of every church, awaiting the Popes orders. I laughed, and offered to show him the musty basement of the local church, armed with a stack of deadly folding chairs. They took me up on it, and were surprised.

I've also heard and fought back against anti-Semitism so foul you'd swear that these folk were Nazis. Again it was not some uneducated person, but lawyers and professionals who harbor such ideas. I have personally seen the tattoos of Death camp survivors, the holocaust was indeed most real, still some in their hatred deny it even happened .

I'm rambling a bit, and this is difficult for me to write, but you need to be aware that this was clearly an anti-LDS/ Mormon article Ms Dowd wrote. It is offensive to me, and to most people. Be aware that there is indeed anti-LDS prejudice in this country. It needs to be confronted with Love and education, not hatred.

As always, you are ambassadors of your church. When in school or on the job, befriend those who are non-LDS so they can see and know a Mormon. (while members of your faith stick together, which is Admirable, don't become isolated from the larger society) Answer any questions they may have, but just be yourself. Be the face of your church, so any time someone hears such anti-LDS talk they will think of you and the person you are, and reject the hatred because it does not match what they know because of what you showed them. They will tell others they know that the LDS folks really aren't do bad. They will be listened to by others even more than you will, for they are independent of LDS and "untainted", this considered more objective than an LDS opinion

Never lose hope, and remember good women and men of all faiths stand with you in this struggle. Many speak against bigotry of all kinds. One day people will look back on this as silly, just as no one asks Catholic candidates about their loyalty anymore.

Either that, or we're in for one heck of a messy future....

Posted for your pondering and consideration. At least our friends see this for what it is.

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Rick Santorum is drawn to the extreme and ascetic Opus Dei and sometimes sounds more Catholic than the pope — like his promise on his Web site to banish hard-core porn if he’s elected president. Yet he has successfully crowded Romney with a fraction of his money by wearing his religion and his immigrant, blue-collar roots on his sleeve.

Mitt works overtime pretending he’s a Nascar, cheesy-grits guy and masking his pride in his bank account and faith.

In other words, Santorum is a succesful populist and Romney is not.

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The menstration thing is pretty stupid if you really think about it... I mean in the time of Moses and Jesus... women couldn't even go out in public while menstrating.

Leviticus 15

The menstration thing is pretty stupid if you really think about it... I mean in the time of Moses and Jesus... women couldn't even go out in public while menstrating.

Leviticus 15

It was extremely stupid and I think the intention of the selective reporting was to make us look like we were enforcing Old Testament type rules on women's cycles. My daughters and wife were incensed that this was even a public topic.

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It was extremely stupid and I think the intention of the selective reporting was to make us look like we were enforcing Old Testament type rules on women's cycles. My daughters and wife were incensed that this was even a public topic.

I agree.

However.. I know of some instances where it may not be desirable. For example a woman who bleeds alot she may feel uncomfortable for fear of spotting the white dress and becoming embarassed. I know some girls in our young womans growing up, who had been advised not to go swimming because of health and hygene issues (infections and such), But its not like the church is asking women and baring them from participation if they were/are.

Im thinking we may hear something more about it from good 'ole Axelrod come Generals. He's saving the best Amo for later.

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How can I put this nicely? I can't-Maureen Dowd is a tool. This is not the first time she has done a "Mormons are wierd" op-ed. I don't know if this has more to do with trying to torpedo Romney or not understanding the church, though she could alleviate the latter with a 30 minute browsing session on our website.

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